2012-06-01

Jewish Chronicle: Russian Emigration From Israel

Jewish Chronicle:
Dov Maimon, senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Institute, said that Israel has failed to make the migrants feel an affinity to the state. “This is the main reason that they leave the country — even more than financial difficulties,” he told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.

Israeli policymakers are resigned to the reality that the volatile security situation will see some citizens leave in search of a calmer life. But they will be disturbed by the idea that the emigration phenomenon results from their failure to make migrants feel Israeli — after all, one of the country’s greatest sources of pride is its effective absorption of migrants.

Dr Maimon’s research tells a difficult truth. In the euphoria of the fall of the Iron Curtain, Israel glossed over the challenge of how it would integrate the many thousands of immigrants who were making aliyah under the Law of Return but who had no connection to the Jewish community or Judaism apart from one Jewish ancestor, and who, in many cases, followed another religion. ...